HOW WOMEN CAN ACHIEVE A LEADERSHIP PRESENCE
Thank you for that kind introduction. Talk about pressure. As you know from my introduction, the role of my company is preparing others to speak.
For 12 years, I've been coaching executives. I've reassured them that if they're well prepared, it doesn't matter who's in the audience. It could be their best friends or close business associates. Even their speech coach.
And now the tables are turned. The shoe -- or high heel -- is on the other foot. Many of our clients have come out to see me speak. Several have told me they wouldn't miss this event for the world.
Talk about pressure. But that's what it means to take the stage. Every time you walk up to that podium, or stand in front of an audience, or meet with a client or boss, there are expectations. Expectations that you'll influence and inspire your listeners.
It's that ability to "take the stage" and lead others that I'd like to talk about this morning, particularly as it applies to women. My message is this: while we women all too often have been taught not to take the stage, we can and must do so if we want to realize our capacity for leadership.
I'll look first at the reasons many women are uncomfortable in the spotlight. Then using our experiences with clients, I'll discuss how you and other women can "take the stage" and stand out.
Why Women Are Reluctant to "Take the Stage."
Traditionally, women have been uncomfortable in the spotlight.
Deborah Tannen, author of the book, Talking From 9 to 5: Women and Men in the Workplace: Language, Sex and Power, notes that girls learn that it is "wrong" to stand out. She remarks: "Boys are expected to put themselves forward, emphasize the qualities that make them look good, and deemphasize those that would show them in a less favorable light. ... Girls are expected to be "humble" -- not try to take the spotlight, emphasize the ways they are just like everyone else, and deemphasize ways they are special." Sound familiar?
It's unsurprising that if girls are taught not to stand out, when they become women they're often uncomfortable in the boardroom. One senior executive client, female, told me: "When I speak in a management meeting, I feel constantly rushed, my eyes fly everywhere, I …